This is one of the most interesting times for Burgundy in the global auction market and a critical point with respect to certain vintages.  Those with significant Burgundy collections, particularly of older vintages, should consider creating both a consumption and sales plan.  The 2013 grape loss in both Bordeaux and Burgundy is likely to push prices even higher through the fall of 2014, as the availability of newer wines is limited.  Thereafter, prices are likely to level off for some time so consider evaluating your collection and devising a strategy before the window closes.

Red Burgundy has had a series of good to great vintages since 2008 and many of these wines are still too young to drink.  There is no need for a consumption plan for these wines and investment potential will probably be better realised by waiting to sell.  Wines from 2001 to 2007 may be drunk now and are starting to attract interest at auction.  However, this span includes two critical vintages – 2003 and 2004 – which should be drunk within a relatively short time or sold as soon as possible.  In general the 2003s are already losing favour with critics and knowledgeable collectors, in the US in particular, because of the very ripe 2003 vintage. The odium issues that wreaked havoc on the 2004 vintage are making it very difficult for these wines to age gracefully.

White Burgundy has been showing a slow but steady upwards quality trend since the early 80s and now rarely has a poor vintage.  However, this trend is slightly compromised by the difficulties many producers have had with premature oxidation since the 1996 vintage.  White Burgundies, other than those of the very best vineyards and producers, thus have a shorter optimal drinking window than in previous years and anything earlier than 2005 should be either drunk or sold relatively swiftly. As with Red Burgundies, any White Burgundy wine from 2003 and 2004 should be liquidated as soon as possible.

The principal reason that fine wine continues to enjoy such strong investment value and high return is rarity.  For the past four years, an increasing amount of the distribution energy and top quality wines have gone to Asia. As a result, the USA and European markets are starved, while we are beginning to see a surplus supply in Asia. With dismal vintages in 2013, investors and collectors will find themselves with cash reserves that would have gone to futures, in a market depleted of high quality product.  As a result, we expect to see extremely strong prices realized in secondary markets.

Our research shows that despite the recent craze in Burgundy buying, there are initial signs of some collectors turning back to Bordeaux, and they will soon be allocating more resources there.  Many collectors have grown wary of the meager Burgundy supply, the education required to be a smart Burgundy buyer as well as the skyrocketing prices attached, and in response are turning back to Bordeaux.  Historically, the fine & rare wine market has waxed and waned between favouring Burgundy and Bordeaux.  Most recently, we had Bordeaux peaks in 1998, 2002 and 2008.  Accordingly, Burgundy prices spiked in 2001, 2003, and are about to experience peak prices from spring through fall of 2014 before we expect them to flatten out for a few years.

– Siobhan Turner DWS, Senior Consultant for Chai Consulting, Europe


Of all the European markets, London (indeed, the whole of the UK) is by far the most developed with respect to fine wine. One explanation for this is historic. Specifically, the strategic alliance of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine meant England enjoyed the finest of Bordeaux for nearly 900 years, long before the Médoc was drained. On the grounds of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” England and Portugal also had a friendship based partly on a shared enmity with Spain. For the same reason, Port and Madeira have also long been key elements of a British cellar. The other explanation is a refreshingly-Catholic attitude towards wine. Not being a producer itself (and, despite some decent fizz, I do not really consider England to be a wine-producing nation), England sought the best from all over the world. As a result, there was no national pride to be offended should one region prove to be better than another.  

England is, therefore, a treasure trove for wine lovers, which presents both huge opportunities and a slightly overwhelming sense of “where do I start.” In this post, I shall look at some of the best retailers and brokers, auction houses, and storage facilities in England.

Retailers and Brokers

From my perspective, it is truly hard to beat Berry Bros. & Rudd ( on any aspect except, perhaps occasionally, price. In terms of value however, I think the few extra pounds are well worth knowing that the bottle of DRC you have in your hands does, indeed, contain DRC, which you do with Berry Bros. They have an excellent website and wonderful contacts across the industry, with particular strengths in Burgundy (where Jasper Morris MW, their Burgundy specialist resides for part of the year), Bordeaux, and Italy (where David Berry Green resides). They also have a trading site, and will buy (carefully vetted) wine from individuals. Wine bought from them can be stored with them either in bond or duty paid, and easily traded on their internet-based trading platform.

Corney and Barrow ( has extensive exclusive relationships with a number of fine producers, particularly in Burgundy, including DRC and Domaine Leflaive. Although based in London, they have branches in a number of other locations, including Ayr, Scotland, as well as an excellent website and good delivery options.

Further north, in Clitheroe, Lancashire, another treasure is D. Byrne & Co ( – a rabbit warren of a building with hidden gems in every corner, where you risk getting lost in their extensive cellars. (With a corkscrew in hand, it would be no hardship.) When I first started visiting 20 years ago, they still rang up the orders on a mechanical cash register and didn’t accept credit cards. Although things have now changed sufficiently for them to have both a website and a Twitter presence (@dbyrnefinewines), they don’t keep a wine list on the web, on the grounds that things change too quickly. Their prices are an incredible value, the breadth of sourcing is excellent, and their longstanding relationships with merchants around the world mean that they regularly have wines other retailers seem never to be able to stock. It is well worth a visit.

Finally, no discussion of the UK market for fine wine can ignore the current holders of much of my personal wealth – The Wine Society ( This is a membership organisation, with a one-off fee of £40. If you live in or near the UK and have not yet joined, I can only say, what are you waiting for? With vast buying power, the ability to take a long term view on pricing and building relationships with suppliers and (like Berry Bros. & Rudd) some of the best buyers in the business, the Society is a sometimes-forgotten resource for fine wines.

This is but a few of the very strong list. Other retail sources include:

Personal experience sadly tells me there is not much worth getting excited about, in vinous terms, beyond this, although the Darroch Learg Hotel ( in Ballater, near Balmoral Castle  has one of the best value restaurant wine lists I have ever come across.

Auction Houses

There are, of course, many auction houses based in London, and the global wine heads of both Christies ( and Sotheby’s ( are based in the city. Late autumn is an exciting time for London wine auctions with Christies having a sale on 24th October as well as Burgundy-focused sales on 7th and 8th November. On 23rd October, Serena Sutcliffe MW of Sotheby’s will auction the cellar of Mme Lacoste-Loubat, former owner of Pétrus amongst other chateaux. Sotheby’s has additional finest and rarest wine sales on 13th November (focusing on the 270th anniversary of Moët) and 11th December. Bonhams ( is perhaps not on the same level as the other two, but with two Masters of Wine leading the London team, they have a sound reputation and source some interesting wines. Their upcoming sales include interesting lots from Conterno and Penfold’s Grange (24th October).


Storing wine in the UK is a relatively easy prospect. For those not blessed with 17th century cellars, Octavian ( provides state-of-the-art storage in the Wiltshire countryside. Its facilities are literally bomb-proof, having been used by the Ministry of Defence all through World War II. London City Bond is another option. Many wine merchants also offer storage for wines purchased through them, including Corney & Barrow, Berry Bros. and Rudd, and The Wine Society.

This is just a small selection of what the UK has to offer – there will be many reputable options I have left off the list, and others will spring up. Every one listed here, however, is a company I would personally trust to sell me wine, to pay me if I sold them wine, or to store my wine safely for me.

Siobhan Turner DWS, Senior Consultant for Chai Consulting, Europe


With Rosh Hashanah beginning at sundown tonight, we thought we’d highlight our favorite kosher wines that can be enjoyed during the holidays.   All wines can be found on and all are also Kosher for Passover.


NV Drappier Carte D’Or $44
Based off of 85-90% Pinot Noir, this generous champagne oozes stone fruit and berries.

NV Laurent Perrier Rosé $80
One of the most popular rosés in the world!  Made from 100% Pinot Noir in the saignée method, this classic sparkler shows depth, intensity, and is chock full of fresh, dark berry flavors.


2004 Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Graves, Bordeaux $95/750ml, $74/375ml
Smith Haut Lafitte comes in both red and white, and we choose the white.  Based primarily on approximately 90% sauvignon blanc, and aged in neutral oak for a year, it is plump, refined, and elegant.

2011 Domaine Du Castel “C” Blanc Chardonnay, Jerusalem $43
Aged on its lees for 12 months in barrel, the round plush palate of this wine is the perfect companion to matzo ball soup.


2002 Château Léoville Poyferré Saint Julien $60
Why settle for ho-hum wine when you can have second-growth Bordeaux instead? With Michel Rolland as consulting winemaker, the structure and power can stand up to any beef brisket.

2005 Borgo Reale Sigli Brunello Di Montalcino $50
Full of truffle, earth, and floral notes, this rich, elegant wine will satisfy paired with any rich meat course thrown its way.


NV Tio Pepe Dry Sherry
The crisp, saline flavors of this classic sherry from Jerez, Spain will complement gefilte fish nicely.

L’shanah tovah!

William Brajnikoff FWS, Fine Wine Consultant & Account Advisor for Chai Consulting